Texas®

I know that we still might technically be still in the midst of Spring, but the temps are beginning to suggest otherwise. Each year, as our energy bills rise, so to does the list of concerts we all circle on our repsective calendars. Below are a few of the top tours and festivals hitting the state. Some you may know all about by now, and others on this list may be hitting your radar for the first time, perhaps. Regardless, we’re pretty sure you’ll find something for almost any taste in the list below…

Austin Psych Fest (April 29 – May 1) - As much of an oddball grouping as your likely to find all year. This intense, all-weekend bill will be filling the Seaholm Power Plant with all sorts of industrial noise and racous bad/good times. Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez Lopez group, along with A Place to Bury Strangers, No Joy and even Texan-goup This Will Destroy You, lead a sonic assult that will likely leave any attendees few questions as to why their ears are bleeding.

Wilco (Houston May 6, Denton May 7) – Not much to add to the simple fact that Wilco will be hitting a couple of places in our state. Word has it that some sort of release is nearing completion, but even if Jeff Tweedy and crew dont play new tunes, their classics are just that – classic.

Editor’s Pick! Homegrown Festival (Dallas May 14): What began last year as a relatively humble gathering of local bands, some of which had outgrown the city limits a tad, has become a full-fledged destination festival, this year. the name of the all-day shindig rings true, still though. Headliners such as Slobberbone, Neon Indian, Astronautalis, and School of Seven Bells are widely known around the country, but all started here in North Texas. The still-new and beautiful Main St Garden is an ideal location that soon might be too small for this budding festival.

Editor’s Pick! Mogwai (Dallas May 15, Austin May 16, Houston May 17) – Perhaps the band that gave real wings to what so many term as “post-rock”. The Scottish outfit has now been together for over a decade and a half, and after three years, they’ve just released an insanely anthemic studio album album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, which is their best effort since their debut record, 1997′s Young Team. Similar to a band like Austin’s Explosions in the Sky, who clearly adore Stewart Braithwaite and his crew, Mogwai has always looked to create moving soundscapes that escape simple categorization. The former Matador stars, now working with Sub Pop have had this American tour planned for a while, actually. The Granada Theater in Dallas announced this show back in November, giving fans plenty of time to brush up on their air-guitar and shoegazing skills. A Pitchfork review of the new record, while not glowing, summed up a feeling that has seemed to evident in the band’s recent performances by suggesting, “ On Hardcore, Mogwai sound like they’re enjoying being Mogwai again.” I can only imagine that us Texans will enjoy them just fine.

Editor’s Pick! Twilight Singers (May 30 Dallas, May 31 Austin, June 1 Houston) – Another Sub Pop act that has been around for a while will be making their long-awaited way through Texas. This project is a bit differnt, however. Greg Dulli, formerly the leader of Afghan Wigs, made this his secondary group, therefore output from this act was scarce until his main act disbanded in 2001. After that, releases havent exactly been prolific, but they have at least bore the mark of a real band and not merely a one-off side project. Case in point: Twilight Singers latest album, Dynamite Steps. An all-out alt-rock album that features agressive rock, with agresive melodies and a real sense for drama. Afghan who?

Houston Free Press Summerfest (June 4-5) - Talk about a line-up that doesn’t need much further explanation? The annual festival, held in Eleanor Tinsley Park, has really topped their already impressive acts from previous years. Weezer, Big Boi, Cut Copy, Yeasayer, Jason Isbell, and Beirut headline a line-up that has really strong support from Lower Dens, Hayes Carll, The Black Angels and Those Darlins, among many others.

Adele w/ Wanda Jackson (Austin June 12, Dallas June 15) – Hello, Girl Power! The current darling of the UK and the US album charts pairs herself with the Queen of Rock and Roll? Yes please! That’s a serious amount of soul to put onto one stage in one night.

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Man, recently, we are doing some serious Post-Rocking in the free world. Well, at least here in Texas, we are. Well-known veterans (Mogwai) and slightly lesser-known, slightly younger (This Will Destroy You) acts of that ilk are releasing new works, and hitting various cities in our region in the next few weeks. In many cases, the new music departs from sounds of the past, in order to differentiate themselves from a sound they claim to not be a part of.

The primary reason we’re getting all spacey and anthemic? Austin’s own instrumental rock heroes, Explosions in the Sky have a new album out, and it’s worthy of celebration.

Many other bands that specialize in a similar form of lyric-less, guitar-driven, arena-worthy anthems seem to bristle at the notion of being viewed as “post-rock,” but judging by Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, the outfit’s seventh album (if you’re including the band’s highly-praised contributions to the Friday Night Lights movie soundtrack), they’re not too worried about folks judging them for not switching things up and making a massive stylistic leap into another realm of instrumental music.

Over the course of 6 songs, spanning 46 minutes, EITS serves up anthems that do possess a few musical additions that astute observers will surely tell anyone listening represents a departure from the group’s typical sound. One thing that is pleasingly similar to their other works is how dramatic the music is. A review of the album on the site, Baebel Music.com describes the album’s layout as a “cinematic storyboard,” and I think they nailed it, when choosing such a description.

Whether it’s post-rock, instrumental rock, or just plain ol’ rock, EITS have created an identifiable sound that is all theirs, even if some detractors suggest that they aren’t terribly original and basically copying Scottish post-rockers Mogwai. We happen to think there’s room for everyone on the pool and that this work does deserve a closer listen. Once you listen closely, you will see that this is an album that doesn’t need words, or pointless comparisons either.